Burma

USDP Member Khin Shwe Defends His Support for Suu Kyi

By Tin Htet Paing 15 January 2016

RANGOON — Khin Shwe, a distinguished member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), has disavowed rumors that he is facing expulsion from the party over his support for the opposition in a Nov. 8 general election.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday, Khin Shwe confirmed that he was summoned by party officials for questioning a week before the election, when he publicly declared his support for Aung San Suu Kyi, but that he had not received any indication of further action from the USDP and that his future within the party remains unclear.

Himself an elected representative for the Upper House in Kawhmu Township, on polling day Khin Shwe cast a ballot in favor of Aung San Suu Kyi to represent his constituency in the Lower House.

“I voted for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi because she was contesting the Lower House, and I contested the Upper House,” he told The Irrawaddy shortly after he cast his vote in November. “Then I voted for my party’s candidates for the [Rangoon] divisional parliament.”

Asked on Friday whether he regretted either voting for Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), or admitting it publicly, he replied that there was “nothing to have regrets about.”

It would be “no problem at all” if he were cut loose from the USDP, he said, as the term of the current government will come to an end in late January.

Khin Shwe is the owner of the Zaykabar Group of Companies, and his daughter is married to the son of Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann. Shwe Mann, who was ousted as USDP chairman in a surprise upset last year, is also viewed as an ally of Suu Kyi.

Regarding rumors that the Speaker could also face expulsion, Khin Shwe said that he did not know of any such plan to further ostracize the former party strongman.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party won a decisive victory in the November polls, granting them a majority in both houses of Parliament and the power to select the next president.

She herself is ineligible for the post due to a clause—which is believed to have been written precisely to exclude her—disqualifying those with a foreign spouse or children. She has stated her intention to rule “above the president.”

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